Frank DiPascali: Bernie Madoff's right-hand man who was facing up to 125 years' jail for his part in the notorious Ponzi scheme

DiPascali died of lung cancer before he could be sentenced

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The Independent Online

Frank DiPascali was the finance chief for Bernard Madoff who turned on former colleagues to co-operate with the federal government and died of lung cancer before he could be sentenced for his role in the biggest Ponzi scheme – paying investors with money from other investors – in US history.

DiPascali joined Madoff's firm as a teenager, without formal finance training, before going on to assist in the $17.5 billion fraud. He was the star government witness in its prosecution of five employees of Madoff, who is serving a 150- year sentence in federal prison.

A jury found all five defendants guilty on all 30 counts, though the judge in their trial criticised testimony by DiPascali, saying it was largely unbelievable. DiPascali, who called himself Madoff's "right-hand man", is a "glib storyteller and an admitted and convicted perjurer," US District Judge Laura Taylor Swain said in Manhattan federal court last year.

DiPascali, who was born in Queens in 1956, joining Madoff's firm in 1975, was the highest-ranking Madoff aide to testify at the trial. The Ponzi scheme collapsed after Madoff's arrest in December 2008. The five former employees were convicted of aiding the fraud for decades and were sentenced to up to 10 years in prison. Madoff, 77, pleaded guilty in 2009.

DiPascali, who faced as long as 125 years in prison, was seeking leniency by testifying against his former colleagues, all of whom claim they were duped by him and Madoff into believing his business was legitimate. Their lawyers claimed DiPascali was lying to win less time behind bars.

ERIK LARSON

Frank DiPascali, financier: born 28 October 1956; died 7 May 2015.

© The Washington Post

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